The newsPosted: March 1, 2009
The big news around the Kirwan house is that I got a real job! (I.e., I’m not going to be a “student” or “trainee” anymore.) I start this fall as an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Brigham Young University. I know what you’re saying: “But Brock, what about your wild and crazy lifestyle? Will you have to give it all up to teach at BYU?” The answer is, sadly, yes. Just kidding. They tell me that I can still root for the Utes.
Academic job searches are sort of a weird breed, and they vary between disciplines. In psychology, departments start posting jobs toward the end of summer the year before they want to hire a new faculty member. Of the programs to which I applied (about 15 total), BYU had the earliest deadline (Oct 1). Other programs had deadlines as late as mid-December. As I began applying for positions last summer, it seemed that there were quite a few good jobs to be had. I turned out that through the course of the fall as the economy took a nose dive, many of those positions dried up. Many of the schools that were conducting multiple searches pared that down to just one search. Some schools called off their searches entirely. It left us feeling very blessed just to have an offer at all.
I interviewed at BYU in early November and then later at Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, and Boston University. The interview at BYU was the longest (2.5 days), the most involved (I met with the students, the faculty, two assistant deans, the academic vice president, and a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy), and the most stressful (probably because it was first, and also because of the meeting with the General Authority). It went really well, probably better than all the others (even the meeting with Elder Maynes).
BYU called a couple of weeks after I had interviewed to tell me that they wanted to make me an offer. It was much sooner than I expected to hear back from them, but it turned out that was a really good thing. BYU asked for a list of start-up expenses (things that I would need to get my lab up and going), and we went back and forth a couple of times with that in December. During this time I got a couple of calls from other primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) asking if I was still available. I told them that I had an offer from BYU and I couldn’t see myself taking an offer from them over the offer from BYU. Then, during the Christmas break, I got a phone call from the department chair letting me know that the Church had announced a Church-wide hiring freeze that included new hires at BYU. Made me rethink turning down interviews at those other universities!. However, since a verbal offer had been made prior to announcing the hiring freeze, the Psychology Department was allowed to go ahead and make me an official offer, which I accepted about a week ago.
I have resisted from blogging about the job search so far for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too much (we’re really sad that we won’t be moving closer to our friends in Boston or Baltimore). Mostly, though, I’ve heard horror stories about job candidates saying dumb things on their blogs that search committees found out during the interview process. It turns out that these folks google you, so if you do something like, I don’t know, rank the schools you’ve interviewed at in the order that you liked them, that doesn’t go over too well. I wanted to avoid all that.
So, you Provoans past and present, we need your advice. First, on good neighborhoods with good schools. Second, on good places to eat (please tell me they exist). Lastly, if you or anyone you know is going on a mission and needs someone to house sit for you, we’re more than happy to oblige. We’re probably not going to buy a house right away, but think it might be a good time to do so in about 18 months…